More and more Dubai hotel brands are now gearing up to meet burgeoning demand as it paves the way for regional players to expand their portfolio.

On the sidelines of the concluding day of the four-day Arabian Travel Market, we spoke to some leading local players on the expansion plans of popular brands such as Landmark Hotel and Suites, Auris, Flora Hospitality and Hospitality Management Holdings, or HMH.

According to the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, guest numbers across all hotel establishments — hotels and hotel apartments — in 2013 reached 11 million, up from 9.95 million in 2012, with Dubai’s top 10 hotel guest source markets being Saudi Arabia, India, the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia, Kuwait, Germany, Oman, Iran and China.

There will be an additional 141 hotel establishments added to the market in 2014-16, including 99 hotels and 48 hotel apartments, bringing the total to 751 hotel establishments and just under 114,000 rooms.

“Dubai is now at the centre of global attention and it offers a phenomenal exposure to any economic sector. The emirate is evolved into a top business destination and has set very high quality standards and particularly the hotel industry as we are all about offering the best services to our consumers. The emirate is strategically located and hence every top international brand will strive to make its presence here. The country also offers best infrastructure facilities in financial and legal sphere,” said Hatem Gasmi, managing director of Auris Hotels.

“Merely by complying with government rules and regulations itself will help us to operate here with high standards and help us to compete with the international hotel chains in Dubai. This in a way helps us to show the investors, market and guests that we can also offer similar level of services.”

Currently, Auris manages 11 properties and is planning to expand its operations in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Oman, as well as few other projects in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Mohammed Rafi, chief operating officer of Flora Hospitality, said: “Flora as a brand started in 2000 and is currently having eight properties including one in India. The brand is planning its future strategy with addition of five more properties in offing. We are a non-alcoholic regional brand and we always believe in setting up hotels in prime locations such as shopping malls, metro stations which are strategically located as our apartments clientele are from the GCC.”

“Now with Dubai’s new initiative of World Expo 2020, we are encouraged to expand our portfolio and hence the new five properties which will be completed by 2017. The expansion itself will cost us Dh1.2 billion and that will help us to have additional inventory of up to 1,250 keys against 800 keys.”

Laurent A, Voivenel, chief executive officer of HMH, said: “We are a local brand with international presence with significant local presence of 20 hotels at the moment and six hotels scheduled to open by end of 2014. The Coral brand is existing since 2003 and has been rebranded with new corporate identity. HMH has a strong presence in the region, with 20 hotels in operation and five new properties opening later this year in quick succession.

“Coral Muscat Hotel & Apartments, Coral Dubai Sports City Hotel & Apartments, Coral Beirut Concorde Hotel, EWA Khartoum Hotel & Apartments and EWA Port Sudan Hotel & Apartments are all in advanced stages of development and are expected to welcome their first guests by the last quarter of 2014 or the beginning of 2015. The new hotels will boost the existing HMH portfolio by 25 per cent.”

Khan Naheed Masarrat, EAM and head of sales and marketing, at Ramada Deira, said: “Landmark Hotels and Suites was started in 1996 and currently we have eight hotels. We are planning to have Landmark Suites, Shaikh Zayed Road, Dubai by 2015; Landmark Hotel, Fujairah, by 2015′ Landmark Hotel, DIP, Dubai by 2016; and Landmark Hotel, Maktoum Road, Dubai by 2018.” ___

Tags: dubai
Photo Credit: Flora Hospitality, with eight properties i Dubai and India, has plans for five additional hotels. Flora Hospitality